Rother Valley Country Park staff pelted with stones by swimmers and girl,13, hit in the face

Staff at Rother Valley Country Park have been pelted with stones as they tried to get people out of the water.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 4:03 pm

The shocking scenes unfolded just days after a man in his 20s drowned in the lake at Crookes Valley Park, Sheffield, and weeks after 16-year-old Sam Haycock died in the reservoir at Ulley Country Park.

Officers from the Rotherham South neighbourhood police team tweeted yesterday: “Officers have attended Rother Valley Country Park this afternoon in relation to a large amount of people in the water.

“Staff have attempted to coax people out but have had stones thrown at them as a result. Please support park staff they are trying to keep everyone safe.”

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Rother Valley Country Park, where staff were reportedly pelted with stones after trying to get people to come out of the water

The incident has sparked outrage, with one person commenting: “Close it!! Stop them at the exits. These idiots ruin it for everyone else.”

Following the recent tragedies, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue this week urged people not to swim in open water unless they are part of an organised swimming group.

A spokeswoman for Rotherham Council, which runs the park, said: “Between 3 and 4pm on 21 July a group of teenage boys verbally abused staff who were asking them to leave the water and threw rocks and stones at a safety boat (which supports organised water sports). Swimming is not permitted at Rother Valley Country Park.

“A thirteen-year-old girl was hit in the face by a stone and park staff provided first aid. Stones also hit the safety boat, striking the boat near the engine and narrowly missing the driver.

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Cllr David Sheppard, said: “Our Park Rangers work hard to ensure people can enjoy the park safely and behaviour like this puts them and the public at risk.

“It may be tempting in such hot weather, but swimming in lakes, reservoirs, rivers or canals is dangerous because there can be debris under the water or strong hidden currents. There is also the very serious risk of cold water shock which makes it very hard to move or breathe properly.

“The deaths of swimmers from drowning in Rotherham and across our region recently were tragic, and I urge people to stay out of open water and stick to swimming pools or organised swimming groups instead."

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